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Catalytic Performance of Bulk and Al2O3-Supported Molybdenum Oxide for the Production of Biodiesel from Oil with High Free Fatty Acids Content

Navajas, A; Reyero, I; Jimenez-Barrera, E; Romero-Sarria, F; Llorca, J; Gandia, LM
Catalysts, 10 (2020) 158
Química de Superficies y Catálisis


Non-edible vegetable oils are characterized by high contents of free fatty acids (FFAs) that prevent from using the conventional basic catalysts for the production of biodiesel. In this work, solid acid catalysts are used for the simultaneous esterification and transesterification with methanol of the FFAs and triglycerides contained in sunflower oil acidified with oleic acid. Molybdenum oxide (MoO3), which has been seldom considered as a catalyst for the production of biodiesel, was used in bulk and alumina-supported forms. Results showed that bulk MoO3 is very active for both transesterification and esterification reactions, but it suffered from severe molybdenum leaching in the reaction medium. When supported on Al2O3, the MoO3 performance improved in terms of active phase utilization and stability though molybdenum leaching remained significant. The improvement of catalytic performance was ascribed to the establishment of MoO3-Al2O3 interactions that favored the anchorage of molybdenum to the support and the formation of new strong acidic centers, although this effect was offset by a decrease of specific surface area. It is concluded that the development of stable catalysts based on MoO3 offers an attractive route for the valorization of oils with high FFAs content.

Febrero, 2020 | DOI: 10.3390/catal10020158

Mesoporous Matrices as Hosts for Metal Halide Perovskite Nanocrystals

Rubino, A; Calio, L; Garcia-Bennett, A; Calvo, ME; Miguez, H
Advanced Optical Materials, (2020) 201901868
Materiales Ópticos Multifuncionales


Several works have recently demonstrated that perovskite nanocrystals can be controllably formed within a variety of porous matrices employing diverse synthetic strategies. By means of the fine tuning of the pore size distribution, the thickness and composition of the walls, the geometry of the void network and its topology, strict control over the structural and morphological parameters of the hosted semiconductor can be achieved, determining its optical absorption and emission properties. Furthermore, porous hosts provide the guest semiconductor with enhanced stability and versatility in terms of processing, which favors its integration in devices. This article provides a comprehensive review of the different approaches proposed, as well as a discussion on the relevance they may have for the development of nanostructured perovskite-based optoelectronics. A critical assessment of the optical quality of the hybrid perovskite nanomaterials so obtained is presented, as well as an analysis of the fundamental and applied aspects of the nanocrystal-matrix interaction and a projected prospect of their impact in the fields of artificial lighting and renewable energy.

Febrero, 2020 | DOI: 10.1002/adom.201901868

Effect of Gold Particles Size over Au/C Catalyst Selectivity in HMF Oxidation Reaction

Megias-Sayago, C; Lolli, A; Bonincontro, D; Penkova, A; Albonetti, S; Cavani, F; Odriozola, JA; Ivanova, S
Chemcatchem, 12 (2020) 1177-1183
Química de Superficies y Catálisis


A series of gold nanoparticles in the 4-40 nm range were prepared, immobilized on activated carbon and further tested, at low base concentration, in the catalytic oxidation of 5-hydroxymethyl furfural (HMF) to 2,5-furandicarboxylic acid (FDCA). Gold particles size variation has no influence on HMF conversion but significantly affects product selectivity and carbon balance. This behavior is ascribed to the thermodynamically favorable oxygen reduction reaction on Au(100) faces. As the gold particle size decreases the Au(100)/Au(111) exposure ratio, estimated by using the van Hardeveld-Hartog model, increases as well as the FDCA selectivity. The smaller the gold particle size the smaller the 5-hydroxymethyl-2-furancarboxylic acid (HMFCA) to FDCA ratio pointing to the gold size dependent behavior of the oxidation of the alcohol function of the HMF molecule.

Febrero, 2020 | DOI: 10.1002/cctc.201901742

Evaluation of Au–ZnO, ZnO/Ag2CO3 and Ag–TiO2 as Photocatalyst for Wastewater Treatment

Murcia, J.J.; Hernández, J.S.;Rojas, H.; Moreno-Cascante, J.; Sánchez-Cid, P.; Hidalgo, M.C.; Navío, J.A.; Jaramillo-Páez, C.
Topics in Catalysis, (2020)
Fotocatálisis Heterogénea: Aplicaciones


In this work series of photocatalysts based on ZnO modified by Au and Ag2CO3 addition and Ag–TiO2 materials were synthesized and evaluated in the treatment of handicrafts factories wastewater and water samples taken from a highly polluted river. In general, it was found that ZnO series were more effective in the bacteria elimination than the commonly used TiO2 semiconductor. It was also observed that the metal (Au, Ag) or silver carbonate addition significantly increases the photocatalytic activity of ZnO and TiO2. It was determined that the content of the metal or carbonate added is an important factor to take into account in order to obtain suitable efficiency in the photocatalytic process, so, for example in the case of the river water samples the increase of Ag2CO3 content from 1 to 5%, had a detrimental effect over the bacteria elimination. The optimal conditions for dyes photodegradation and bacteria elimination were found by using a response surface study and the Au–ZnO (1%) photocatalyst. From this study it was determined that even after recycling this material leads to obtain a removal percentage of these pollutants over than 94%.

Febrero, 2020 | DOI: 10.1007/s11244-020-01232-z

Hybrid ZnO/Ag3PO4 photocatalysts, with low and high phosphate molar percentages

Martín-Gómez, A.N.;Navío, J.A.;Jaramillo-Páeza, C.;Sánchez-Cid, P.;Hidalgo, M.C.
Journal of Photochemistry and Photobiology A: Chemistry, (2020) 112196
Fotocatálisis Heterogénea: Aplicaciones


In this work, a previously optimized synthesized ZnO photocatalyst was modified with different molar percentages of Ag3PO4 through a facile in situ precipitation–deposition method and then characterized by different techniques (XRD, XRF, BET, UV–vis DRS, SEM, TEM and XPS). The incorporation of Ag3PO4 produces important changes in the light absorption properties with a significant absorbance in the visible region observed for ZnO modified with different amounts of Ag3PO4; the optical absorption intensity in the visible region of the coupled ZnO/Ag3PO4 increases as the molar percentages of Ag3PO4 increases, evidencing a clear dependence on the content of Ag3PO4. However, this work shows that the incorporation of Ag3PO4 in almost all cases reduces the photocatalytic capacity of ZnO, except when it is used in a specific percentage of 10 % and only being more active against rhodamine B and not on the Caffeine. SEM images and elemental mapping indicate that Ag3PO4 disperses very well in the ZnO particles, exhibiting an almost homogeneous distribution, showing zones with cumulus of Ag3PO4 (rich in P-Ag) in contact with ZnO-zones (rich in Zn). All the prepared photocatalysts were tested in the photocatalytic degradation of rhodamine B as a dye, and caffeine as a toxic and persistent emerging compound under UV and visible light illumination. It is reported that not only the ZnO:Ag3PO4 ratio is an important factor that influences the photocatalytic process of substrate degradation, but also the nature of the substrate has an important influence on the photocatalytic behavior of the materials under both UV and visible illumination. Thus, pristine Ag3PO4 showed high photocatalytic degradation for rhodamine B, while for caffeine negligible photocatalytic degradation was found in both the UV and visible regions. The thermal- and photo-stability of the coupled system was also studied. At least, for rhodamine B no loss of photocatalytic activity has been observed after five recycles although the mineralization degree progressively diminished along the recycles.

Febrero, 2020 | DOI: 10.1016/j.jphotochem.2019.112196

Modulation of the acidity of a vermiculite and its potential use as a catalytic support

Amaya, J; Bobadilla, L; Azancot, L; Centeno, M; Moreno, S; Molina, R
Journal of Materials Science
Química de Superficies y Catálisis


The modulation and characterization of the acidity of a vermiculite were carried out, which was modified by delamination by means of hydrothermal and acid treatments with the subsequent incorporation of AlZr and AlCe species to modulate the acidity. The effect of these species was evaluated regarding the structural (XRD, XPS and IR), textural (N-2 sortometry) and acidity properties (NH3-TPD, NH3-DRIFTS and CO adsorption at low temperature). The catalytic performance was studied in the dehydration-dehydrogenation reactions of 2-propanol and the hydroconversion of decane, which generate important information about the acidity properties such as the type, number and strength of acidic sites. The correlation between the number, type and acid strength with the catalytic behavior allowed to establish the important effect regarding the nature of the mineral, its method of delamination and the nature of the incorporated cation, thus generating tools for controlled processes for the potentiation of the acidity of new supports from raw vermiculite.

Febrero, 2020 | DOI: 10.1007/s10853-020-04445-5

Robust label-free CuxCoyOz electrochemical sensors for hexose detection during fermentation process monitoring

Lopez-Fernandez, E; Gil-Rostra, J; Espinos, JP; Gonzalez, R; Yubero, F; de Lucas-Consuegra, A; Gonzalez-Elipe, AR
Sensors and Actuators B-Chemical, 304 (2020) 127360
Nanotecnología en Superficies y Plasma


Label free electrochemical sensors of glucose are used whenever long-term operation and stable response are required. For this purpose, various metals and oxides of the first transition series have been proposed as alternative to more expensive noble metal electrochemical sensors. In this work we propose a new formulation consisting of copper-cobalt mixed oxides which, in the form of porous and nanostructured thin films with well controlled Co/Cu ratio, are prepared at room temperature in one step by a modification of the magnetron sputtering oblique angle deposition procedure. Films with various compositions were electrochemically characterized by cyclic voltammetry to determine their amperometric response to glucose as a function of voltage and NaOH electrolyte concentration. This analysis showed that films with a Co/Cu atomic ratio equal 3.4 presented a maximum sensitivity (0.710 A M−1 cm−2), a small limit of detection (0.105 μM) and a resilient behaviour upon cycling operation and long storage periods that clearly overpassed the performance of copper and cobalt single oxides. The CuxCoyO electrocatalysts also presented a good selectivity towards glucose and fructose in the presence of common interference compounds found in biological fluids (e.g., ascorbic acid, acetaminophen and uric acid), sucrose and ethanol, this latter present in many agrofood liquids. The possibilities of this sensor electrocatalyst have been tested for the analysis of a wine synthetic fermentation process. The comparison of the electrochemical results with conventional analytical methods showed a lineal amperometric response with respect hexose contents in a must at different stages of its transformation into wine.

Febrero, 2020 | DOI: 10.1016/j.snb.2019.127360

Recent advances in selective oxidation of biomass-derived platform chemicals over gold catalysts

Megias-Sayago, C; Navarro-Jaen, S; Castillo, R; Ivanova, S
Current Opinion in Green and Sustainable Chemistry, 21 (2020) 50-55
Química de Superficies y Catálisis


Gold is without a doubt the best known metal for chemical oxidation. The noblest of the noble metals gained its place because of its resistance to overoxidation, low temperature of operation, especially in gas-phase oxidation, and fairly good selectivity when required. The aim for sustainable development and the need for new technologies open the possibility to introduce new raw materials and new catalyst formulation. That is why new horizons appear in the otherwise uncertain future of gold catalysis. The old glory becomes now a glorious alternative, and this mini-review gives only a small example of it.

Febrero, 2020 | DOI: 10.1016/j.cogsc.2019.12.001

Role of Fe(III) in aqueous solution or deposited on ZnO surface in the photoassisted degradation of rhodamine B and caffeine

Tanji, Karim; Navio, J A; Martin-Gomez, A N; Hidalgo, M C; Jaramillo-Paez, C; Naja, Jamal; Hassoune, Hicham; Kherbeche, Abdelhak
Chemosphere, 241 (2020) 125009
Fotocatálisis Heterogénea: Aplicaciones


Iron (III) was incorporated, to the surface of a synthesized ZnO, using two nominal molar percentages of Fe (III): 1% and 5% Fe relative to ZnO. Samples dried and calcined at 200 °C and 400 °C for 2 h, were characterized by XRD, XPS, XRF, N2-adsorption-BET and (UV–vis)-DRS. Photocatalytic activities of the catalysts were assessed based on the degradation of rhodamine B (RhB) and caffeine (CAF) in aqueous solution under two irradiation conditions: UV and visible light illumination. Prior to the photocatalytic tests, the interaction of each one of the substrates with either Fe(III) or Fe(II) was studied in homogeneous medium under UV-illumination and oxygenated environment. It was found that Fe (III) can play an important role in homogeneous media in the photoassisted degradation, both of rhodamine B and caffeine, while Fe (II) does not exert a relevant role in the photoassisted degradation of the referred substrates. Fe–ZnO samples display similar or poorer performance than pure ZnO in the presence of UV light for both studied substrates. The phenomenon can be attributed to the formation of either goethite or ZnFe2O4 at the ZnO surface where the coupled Fe3+/Fe2+ can act as recombination centers for the photogenerated charges. On the contrary, all Fe–ZnO samples showed enhanced photocatalytic activity under visible illumination which seems to be independent of the iron content. In this context, the mechanisms for photoassisted degradation of both the substrates in homogeneous medium and photocatalytic degradation are discussed, as well as the role of Fe in the photodegradation processes.

Febrero, 2020 | DOI: 10.1016/j.chemosphere.2019.125009

Monolithic stirrer reactor: The selective lactose oxidation in liquid phase over Au/Al2O3 nanostructured catalysts

Regenhardt, SA; Meyer, CI; Sanz, O; Sebastian, V; Ivanova, S; Centeno, MA; Odriozola, JA; Montes, M; Marchi, AJ; Garetto, TF
Molecular Catalysis, 481 (2020) 110219
Química de Superficies y Catálisis


The performance of rotating metallic monolith stirrer reactor was studied for selective lactose oxidation in liquid phase at 65 degrees C, atmospheric pressure and with air as oxidant agent. The Au/Al(2)O(3)deposition on metallic substrates was performed by wash-coating, producing catalyst coating thicknesses between 5 and 20 mu m. Monoliths with different configuration (channel size between 0.36 and 1.06 mm) were used as stirrer blades in a batch reactor. Internal and external mass transfer limitations were observed during liquid phase lactose oxidation. For stirring rates equal or higher than 600 rpm there were no important external diffusional restrictions and this was also independent of the monolith configuration. Coating with thickness higher than 15 mu m presents loss of catalyst effectiveness due to internal diffusional restrictions. Excellent stability in the catalytic tests was obtained after three regeneration-reaction cycles. Regeneration was carried out at 400 degrees C in air flow. Gold particle size distribution in the monolith washcoat, determined by TEM before and after reaction, was homogeneous with a medium size of around 5 nm. This is in agreement with the very good reproducibility and stability obtained in the catalytic tests. After calcination at 500 degrees C, some sintering and a heterogeneous distribution of metal particle size was observed, accompanied by a slight loss in catalyst activity. It is concluded that metallic monolith stirrer reactors are a promising application for selective lactose oxidation in liquid phase.

Febrero, 2020 | DOI: 10.1016/j.mcat.2018.10.014

Effect of synthesis pH on the physicochemical properties of a synthesized Bi2WO6 and the type of substrate chosen, in assessing its photo-catalytic activities

Jaramillo-Páez, C.; Navío, J.A.; Hidalgo, M.C.
Arabian Journal of Chemistry, 13 (2020) 431-443
Fotocatálisis Heterogénea: Aplicaciones


Crystalline orthorhombic Bi2WO6 powders were synthesized by a hydrothermal method from aqueous solutions of Bi(NO3)35H2O and Na2WO42H2O over a range of three selected pH values (2.0, 5.0 and 7.0), using NaOH as precipitating agent. The as-prepared catalysts were characterized by XRD, BET, FE-SEM, TEM, XPS and UV-vis spectroscopy. The effect of pH-synthesis on crystallinity,  morphologies, surface area and optical absorption properties, were investigated.
Although the pH has a marked influence on morphology, the nature of the precipitating agent (NaOH or TEA) also influences the morphology and surface structure composition, as it is observed in the present work. Three different probe molecules were used to evaluate the photocatalytic properties under two illumination conditions (UV and Visible): Methyl Orange and Rhodamine B were chosen as dye substrates and Phenol as a transparent substrate. The photo-catalytic activities are strongly dependent not only on the pH used in the synthesis but also on the nature of the chosen substrate in assessing the photo-catalytic activities. Results were compared with those obtained when using TiO2(P25, Evonik) in the same experimental conditions. The photocatalytic activity of one of the synthesised samples has been evaluated by exposing a mixture of Rhodamine B and Phenol in water, to different illumination conditions. Our results provide new evidences about the issue of whether dyes are suitable substrates to assess the activity of a photo-catalyst.

Enero, 2020 | DOI: 10.1016/j.arabjc.2017.05.014

Development of Ti(C,N)-based cermets with (Co,Fe,Ni)-based high entropy alloys as binder phase

de la Obra, AG; Sayagues, MJ; Chicardi, E; Gotor, FJ
Journal of Alloys and Compounds, 814 (2020) 152218
Reactividad de Sólidos


High entropy alloys have been proposed as novel binder phases in cemented carbides and cermets. Many aspects related to the stability of these alloys during the liquid phase sintering process are still unclear and were addressed in this work. Consolidated Ti(C,N)-based cermets using four different (Co,Fe,Ni)based high entropy alloys as the binder phase were obtained. The chosen alloys - CoCrCuFeNi, CoCrFeNiV, CoCrFeMnNi and CoFeMnNiV - were previously synthesized through mechanical alloying and a single alloyed solid solution phase with fcc structure and nanometric character was always obtained. The powdered alloys and the consolidated cermets were analyzed by X-ray diffraction, scanning electron microscopy, X-ray energy dispersive spectrometry and transmission electron microscopy. Differential thermal analysis was employed to determine the melting point of the four high entropy alloys that ranged between 1310 degrees C and 1375 degrees C. Although a high temperature of 1575 degrees C was required to obtain the highest cermet densification by pressureless sintering, porosity still remained in most of the cermets. Best densification was achieved when CoCrFeNiV was used as the binder phase. During liquid phase sintering, different compositional changes were observed in the ceramic and binder phases. A core-rim microstructure was observed in cermets containing V in the alloys (CoCrFeNiV and CoFeMnNiV), since this element was incorporated to the carbonitride structure during sintering. A slight Cr segregation was detected in cermets containing Cr, leading to CrTi-rich alloys in small binder regions. However, a great Cu segregation was produced when CoCrCuFeNi was used, and the formation of two different fcc alloys -a Cu-rich and a Cu-depleted- was observed. Finally, a loss of Mn was also evidenced in CoCrFeMnNi and CoFeMnNiV, probably due to its sublimation at the sintering temperature. 

Enero, 2020 | DOI: 10.1016/j.jallcom.2019.152218

Preparation and Characterization of Bio-Based PLA/PBAT and Cinnamon Essential Oil Polymer Fibers and Life-Cycle Assessment from Hydrolytic Degradation

Correa-Pacheco, ZN; Black-Solis, JD; Ortega-Gudino, P; Sabino-Gutierrez, MA; Benitez-Jimenez, JJ; Barajas-Cervantes, A; Bautista-Banos, S; Hurtado-Colmenares, LB
Polymers, 12 (2020) 38
Materiales de Diseño para la Energía y Medioambiente


Nowadays, the need to reduce the dependence on fuel products and to achieve a sustainable development is of special importance due to environmental concerns. Therefore, new alternatives must be sought. In this work, extruded fibers from poly (lactic acid) (PLA) and poly (butylene adipate-co-terephthalate) (PBAT) added with cinnamon essential oil (CEO) were prepared and characterized, and the hydrolytic degradation was assessed. A two-phase system was observed with spherical particles of PBAT embedded in the PLA matrix. The thermal analysis showed partial miscibility between PLA and PBAT. Mechanically, Young's modulus decreased and the elongation at break increased with the incorporation of PBAT and CEO into the blends. The variation in weight loss for the fibers was below 5% during the period of hydrolytic degradation studied with the most important changes at 37 degrees C and pH 8.50. From microscopy, the formation of cracks in the fiber surface was evidenced, especially for PLA fibers in alkaline medium at 37 degrees C. This study shows the importance of the variables that influence the performance of polyester-cinnamon essential oil-based fibers in agro-industrial applications for horticultural product preservation.

Enero, 2020 | DOI: 10.3390/polym12010038

Processing and properties of Bi0.98R0.02FeO3 (R = La, Sm, Y) ceramics flash sintered at similar to 650 degrees C in <5 s

Gil-Gonzalez, E; Perejon, A; Sanchez-Jimenez, PE; Raj, R; Perez-Maqueda, LA
Journal of the American Ceramic Society, 103 (2020) 136-144
Reactividad de Sólidos


We show that flash sintering produces single‐phase, nanograin‐sized polycrystals of isovalent‐substituted multiferroic ceramics of complex compositions. Single‐phase polycrystals of Bi0.98R0.02FeO3 (R = La, Sm, Y) were produced at a furnace temperature of ~650°C in a few seconds by the application of an electric field of 50 V cm−1, with the current limit set to 40 mA mm−2. The dielectric and insulating properties compared favorably with expected values. Impedance spectroscopy suggests electrically homogenous microstructure, except for the sample Bi0.98La0.02FeO3 that shows a small grain boundary contribution to the impedance. These results reinforce the enabling nature of flash sintering for ceramics which pose difficulties in conventional sintering because they contain low melting constituents or develop secondary phases during the sintering protocol.

Enero, 2020 | DOI: 10.1111/jace.16718

Finite Size Effects on Light Propagation throughout Random Media: Relation between Optical Properties and Scattering Event Statistics

Miranda-Munoz, JM; Esteso, V; Jimenez-Solano, A; Lozano, G; Miguez, H
Advanced Optical Materials, 8 (2020) 1901196
Materiales Ópticos Multifuncionales


This work introduces a thorough analysis of light transport in thin optically disordered media. The diffusive properties of a turbid material are generally dictated by the transport mean free path, lt. For depths larger than this characteristic length, light propagation can be considered fully randomized. There is however a range of thicknesses for which light becomes only partly randomized, as it only undergoes a single or very few scattering events. The effects of such finitude are experimentally and theoretically studied on the optical properties of the material, such as the angular distribution of scattered light. Simulations provide insight into the phenomena that occur within the optically disordered slab, like the number of scattering events that photons undergo during propagation throughout the material, as a function of the built‐in wavelength dependent scattering mean free path, lsc. This approach provides fundamental information about photon transport in finite optically random media, which can be put into practice to design diffusers with specific requirements in terms of the spectral and angular properties of the scattered light.

Enero, 2020 | DOI: 10.1002/adom.201901196

New waste-based clinkers for the preparation of low-energy cements. A step forward toward circular economy

Martinez-Martinez, S; Perez-Villarejo, L; Eliche-Quesada, D; Sanchez-Soto, PJ; Christogerou, A; Kanellopoulou, DG; Angelopoulos, GN
International Journal of Applied Ceramic Technology, 17 (2020) 12-21
Materiales Avanzados


This paper describes the use of industrial wastes arising from different production processes of the ceramic and marble industries as raw materials for the design and formulation of new cement clinkers with a high content of dicalcium silicate (Belite). The aim was to reintroduce these wastes in the industrial sector and take advantage of them for a greater environmental benefit, as indicated by the principles of the circular economy. Formulations containing 2.5, 5 and 10 wt% of chamotte and marble sludge, respectively, and a waste-free formulation have been designed to obtain clinkers with a content of dicalcium silicate higher than 60 wt%. The different blends have been studied up to a maximum temperature of 1390 degrees C by Thermal Analysis. Other techniques such as XRD, XRF, Modified Bogue Equation, Quality Indexes (LSF, AM, SM) and Optical Microscopy have been used for the study and characterization of industrial wastes, the raw materials and the high belite-type cement dosages. The results indicate that this type of cements can be designed using different types of wastes and in this way reduce the environmental impacts caused by the extraction of raw materials and the deposition of the wastes in landfills, improving the circular economy of the construction industry.

Enero, 2020 | DOI: 10.1111/ijac.13390

Obituary: Prof. José Manuel Criado

Perez-Maqueda, LA; Real, C; Gotor, FJ; Alcala, MD; Malek, J; Koga, N
Journal of Thermal Analysis and Calorimetry, (2020)
Reactividad de Sólidos


Influence of DSC thermal lag on evaluation of crystallization kinetics

Svoboda, R; Maqueda, LP; Podzemna, V; Perejon, A; Svoboda, O
Journal of Non-Crystalline Solids, 528 (2020) 119738
Reactividad de Sólidos


Influence of added thermal resistance on crystallization kinetics, as measured by differential scanning calorimetry (DSC), of the Se70Te30 glass was studied. The increase of thermal resistance was achieved by adding polytetrafluorethylene discs of different thicknesses (up to 0.5 mm) in-between the DSC platform and the pan with sample. Increase of the thermal resistance led to an apparent decrease (by more than 30%) in the crystallization enthalpy. Significant change of model-free kinetics occurred: apparent activation energy E of the crystallization process decreased (by more than 20%) due to the DSC data being progressively shifted to higher temperatures with increasing heating rate. The model-based kinetics was changed only slightly; the DSC peaks retained their asymmetry and the choice of the appropriate model was not influenced by the added thermal resistance. The temperature shift caused by added thermal lag was modeled for the low-to-moderate heating rates.

Enero, 2020 | DOI: 10.1016/j.jnoncrysol.2019.119738

Low gas consumption fabrication of He-3 solid targets for nuclear reactions

Fernandez, A; Hufschmidt, D; Colaux, JL; Valiente-Dobon, JJ; Godinho, V; de Haro, MCJ; Feria, D; Gadea, A; Lucas, S
Materials & Design, 186 (2020) 108337
Materiales Nanoestructurados y Microestructura


Nanoporous solids that stabilize trapped gas nanobubbles open new possibilities to fabricate solid targets for nuclear reactions. A methodology is described based on the magnetron sputtering (MS) technique operated under quasistatic flux conditions to produce such nanocomposites films with He-3 contents of up to 16 at.% in an amorphous-silicon matrix. In addition to the characteristic low pressure (3-6 Pa) needed for the gas discharge, the method ensures almost complete reduction of the process gas flow during film fabrication. The method could produce similar materials to those obtained under classical dynamic flux conditions for MS. The drastic reduction (>99.5%) of the gas consumption is fundamental for the fabrication of targets with scarce and expensive gases. Si:He-3 and W:He-3 targets are presented together with their microstructural (scanning and transmission electron microscopy, SEM and TEM respectively) and compositional (Ion Beam Analysis, IBA) characterization. The He-3 content achieved was over 1 x 10(18) at/cm(2) for film thicknesses between 1.5 and 3 mu m for both Si and W matrices. First experiments to probe the stability of the targets for nuclear reaction studies in inverse kinematics configurations are presented. 

Enero, 2020 | DOI: 10.1016/j.matdes.2019.108337

Enhanced Stability of Perovskite Solar Cells Incorporating Dopant-Free Crystalline Spiro-OMeTAD Layers by Vacuum Sublimation

Barranco, A; Lopez-Santos, MC; Idigoras, J; Aparicio, FJ; Obrero-Perez, J; Lopez-Flores, V; Contreras-Bernal, L; Rico, V; Ferrer, J; Espinos, JP; Borras, A; Anta, JA; Sanchez-Valencia, JR
Advanced Energy Materials, (2020) 1901524
Nanotecnología en Superficies y Plasma


The main handicap still hindering the eventual exploitation of organometal halide perovskite-based solar cells is their poor stability under prolonged illumination, ambient conditions, and increased temperatures. This article shows for the first time the vacuum processing of the most widely used solid-state hole conductor (SSHC), i.e., the Spiro-OMeTAD [2,2 ',7,7 '-tetrakis (N,N-di-p-methoxyphenyl-amine) 9,9 '-spirobifluorene], and how its dopant-free crystalline formation unprecedently improves perovskite solar cell (PSC) stability under continuous illumination by about two orders of magnitude with respect to the solution-processed reference and after annealing in air up to 200 degrees C. It is demonstrated that the control over the temperature of the samples during the vacuum deposition enhances the crystallinity of the SSHC, obtaining a preferential orientation along the pi-pi stacking direction. These results may represent a milestone toward the full vacuum processing of hybrid organic halide PSCs as well as light-emitting diodes, with promising impacts on the development of durable devices. The microstructure, purity, and crystallinity of the vacuum sublimated Spiro-OMeTAD layers are fully elucidated by applying an unparalleled set of complementary characterization techniques, including scanning electron microscopy, X-ray diffraction, grazing-incidence small-angle X-ray scattering and grazing-incidence wide-angle X-ray scattering, X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, and Rutherford backscattering spectroscopy.

Enero, 2020 | DOI: 10.1002/aenm.201901524